NAGERCOIL: Six Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu and Kerala who languished in Iran for several months returned home yesterday. They arrived at Chennai Airport on Sunday morning. The fishermen said they had fished in Iran but had fallen by the wayside for the past two months when their sponsor denied them wages, food and medical care. “That was because we couldn’t get a good catch,” said the fishermen.
Then they turned to the Indian embassy to help them return to India. The six fishermen were identified as Varghese from Chinnathura in the Kanniyakumari district, Arumugam from Tindivanam in the Villuppuram district, Ezhumalai from Cuddalore, Sathish and Chelladurai from Thanjavur and Justin from Kochuthope, Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala.
Officials from the Commissariat for Rehabilitation and Welfare of Non-Resident Tamils met them at the airport and sent them to their hometown. Deputy Director K Ramesh said, “After dropping off fishermen in Cuddalore and Tindivanam, the fishermen from Thanjavur, Kanniyakumari and Thiruvananthapuram were brought by car to Tiruchy, from where they drove on buses. The Commissariat for Rehabilitation and Welfare of Non-Resident Tamils had obtained the car, bus tickets and food.
When Varghese came home from Chinnathura on Sunday evening, Kanniyakumari told TNIE that he and the others had traveled to Iran in early March last year based on the agreement to receive a share (wage) for fishing. The boat owner was an Iranian citizen. “The boat owner didn’t give us our share. The boat captain, who was from Tamil Nadu, supported his decision, ”he said.
He said three other fishermen from Tamil Nadu and Puducherry returned home by paying money, but they could not. “We had no money. The Indian embassy helped us return home, ”he said. The fisherman noticed that he and Justin were given 1 lakh for going to Iran. “Now we’re penniless,” he said.